The Sanguine Gryphon Open House Day

December 22, 2011 § 2 Comments

Or, the day my credit card wept!

It started out innocently enough: driving across the (Chesapeake) Bay Bridge, enjoying the sunny weather, cruising on down the Eastern Shore. Even getting up early wasn’t as terrible as it usually is; yarn is excellent motivation. I got there right at the opening time, or a bit before, and a small queue of cars filed in and parked.

One of the first things I saw was, besides the familiar font of The Sanguine Gryphon’s sign, was an ADORABLE cat, who looks very much like my Kif (all black). And since black cats are good luck, at least in France, I took it as a sign that the day was going to go really well.¬†Immediately after dropping off my potluck contribution (crispix mix), I began browsing yarn. Hagrid was curious enough at what we were all doing that he bravely came forward, sniffed me and my yarn, and then was ready for breakfast.

After my brief feline interlude, I returned to the little store area. I dithered for a VERY long time, agonizing over what colors would make a good sweater, what bases were best for the kinds of sweaters I was planning…oh, it was knitting heaven, especially since I was surrounded by enablers, that special type of knitter who totally understands driving an hour and a half (or more in some cases) to buy beautiful yarn. I helped others pick out yarn colors, they helped me pick out yarn colors, we complimented each other on our SG projects…I was even told I should publish my cowl design, made from QED, my newest yarn obsession. Everyone was excited but focused, and fortunately there weren’t any yarn-snatching episodes or throw-downs over the laceweight. (After hearing about how crowded the Rhinebeck booth was this year on Saturday morning, I was prepared for anything!)

At one point in my yarn shopping daze a bell rang, alerting us it was time to sign up for our custom yarn pots near where there was a table laid out with all our custom-dyeing options. I put my name in for a custom dyepot of Skinny Bugga! in Oil Beetle (bottom right).

My Oil Beetle at home, not skeined yet, but after it finished drying:

I really enjoyed watching the dyers at work; seeing the care and concentration amidst all that yarn-buying bustle was soothing. Plus I think I saw my yarn being dyed, and I definitely later on watched some of my new friends’ yarn being dyed. The excitement was definitely palpable, and I still wish I’d bought a second pot, if only because how often can you say you watched your yarn being custom-dyed? Fortunately, the owners of the soon-to-be-dissolved company are planning on holding more open houses, hopefully next year. I will definitely be attending if I can. Of course, before then I really, really, REALLY need to knit up what I’ve got!

At the Open House there were bagels for breakfast, but I was too excited by all the yarn to get any. Fortunately by the time lunch rolled around, I was more interested in food; we had bison burgers and I hung out with an elf (it feels weird to call a man who’s like, 6 foot 4, an elf, but anyway) while he was grilling, and then eventually some other customers and even some friends of other elves who’d stopped by to see their friend before going home for the holidays came over to chat. Not sure we convinced the non-knitters-who-were-friends-with-an-elf to start knitting, but I guess they know where they can find some amazing yarn if they want to learn.

In the afternoon we all sat around and had a big crafting circle (of course, people kept hopping up “just to browse,” myself included), at which point the studio cats decided that we were nice people and we should pet them. I keep forgetting the name of the beautiful calico, but she (plug your ears now, lest I bore you with cat chat) let me pet her the longest of anyone. So I maybe didn’t get quite as much stitching done as everyone else in the knitting/crochet circle, but that cat was a total sweetheart.

Eventually only those who had driven in for the day were around, or those waiting for yarn to be dyed, at which point I got to chat with Sarah of the Baltimore studio and also with Kate of Dragonfly Fibers (she has beautiful yarn too, but I’ll have to wait to order from her, thanks to my cold-sheeping). One thing that many of us were concerned about was how QED wasn’t going to be sold with either the Verdant Gryphon nor Cephalopod. Apparently QED, being a very densely spun yarn, is a hard sell, I guess because to buy a sweater’s worth is so much more of an investment than buying a sweater’s worth of Bugga! or Skinny Bugga!, being sport- and fingering-weight respectively. The QED fans begged for possibly a DK BFL and who knows, maybe one day…it really is a fantastic yarn, being both bouncy and drapey, soft and resilient, and it shows off color so well.

The male cat, Hagrid, was funny too, because even though he knows he’s supposed to come in at night, right as we were all heading out to dinner at the local Japanese restaurant he made a break for it. Fortunately I was able to carefully run behind him, corner him at the picnic table, and then scruff him and bring him in. I then chatted with one of the Baltimore elves who hinted at some exciting new things coming from what will become Cephalopod Yarns. We also discussed ways in which to work with variegation in yarns, and good ways to dye non-superwash wool, and so forth. We also watched the two cats fight over a piece of bread that had fallen during lunch cleanup; the calico won, poor Hagrid! First I ruined his night-out adventure, and then we all laughed when his bread got stolen.

Also, right before leaving I saw someone with a box that said “cat bed yarns 25% off…cat hair is free!” I suspect both cats made liberal use of the bed, but I have a feeling it was she who left most of the hair on the yarn.

At dinner we all chatted about our yarn purchases and our plans for projects. I sat next to the two women I’d met at the crafting circle and also a local SG fan who lived in Easton. We ended up chatting about Japanese food and great places to get other kinds of Asian food while watching the dinner show, which consisted of a lot of fire and knife-tossing sorts of things, all of which were really cool (though I should say hot because of all the fire). After we’d all eaten, Gryphon and Sarah presented the guest who’d traveled the farthest with a prize: the Travelling Bugga! He now resides in Sydney, Australia, though the Raveler who adopted him says she’s planning on visiting again next year.

In the meantime over the last few days I’ve been buying QED by the sweaters-worth. At the Open House I very nearly bought seven skeins of QED in biometrics, but had spent my budget already. So I said that if I saw the skeins up on Monday, I’d get them…except someone else got them before me! Fortunately, today ten skeins of that color were up, though sadly I did fall off my cold sheep to buy them. Je regrette rien!

Confession time: here’s the rest of the damage done to my stash. Sigh…

One skein of Zaftig Bugga! in Ringed Forceptail. I deluded myself into thinking I could knit my sister a hat with it for Christmas, but (un)fortunately the hat I’m knitting her requires 50 more yards than can be found in this skein. What a shame!

Four skeins of Skinny Bugga! in Coffin Fly, for a cardigan. I spent the longest amount of time choosing this set, wanting a color I could (would) wear that wasn’t too similar to stuff I already wear/am planning on knitting. There’s just enough purple to make it interesting but not so purple that I wouldn’t wear it as a garment.

More Skinny Bugga! in Orchard Spider; I love this color so much I bought it on Mithril at Rhinebeck despite not really working with laceweight that much. But now I can make a sweater! And a shawl! That I probably shouldn’t wear together, too matchy-matchy.

Skinny Bugga! in Painted Damsel. I very nearly bought a sweater’s worth of this before I realized (after thinking about it for longer than I’d care to admit) that it would be much brighter than what I normally like to wear. So…for a shawl perhaps? Maybe just admire it for a long time?

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